Inspired by a piece on the website of Sugarcrest about practice management systems in law firms, I extrapolated to law department matter management systems (MMS)
Myth #1. MMS’s are about technology. No, the platform – software and servers – means less than the understanding that should come from analyzing its data. Technology is a means to an end.
Myth #2. MMS’s are only for litigators. No, all areas of the law department (and compliance, corporate secretary, IP, claims….) can track information and mine it.
Myth #3. Our law department’s needs for an MMS are unique. No, I would hazard to say that 90 percent of a plain vanilla system from a good vendor fits you. (And that the remaining 10% will cost huge amounts and exact much angst to possibly get done.)
Myth #4. The matter management system is for my secretaries and paralegals. No, but persuading lawyers to use it as an information repository, a budgeting aid, and a knowledge management tool makes Sisyphus’s task look like a cinch.
Myth #5. MMS’s transmute base data into golden wisdom. No, humans draw conclusions, even if the system draws graphs. The brain, not the silicon chip, works alchemy on the data and patterns.
Myth #6. MMS’s perk along on their own, once underway. No, they require constant care and feeding, to be sure people are complying, to check the accuracy of the data, to handle administrative tasks, to deal with vendors and corporate IT, to train, to improve reports, to fix glitches.
Myth #7. The MMS is only for the law department. No, clients and outside counsel can also make use of the information under suitable controls for confidentiality and attorney-client privilege.
Myth #8. The MMS is the Swiss knife that can do it all. No, you need IP systems, document management, specialized system for corporate secretary, just in the database area.
Myth #9. Why bother with an MMS when we have SAP (or any ERP)? Wrong thinking, since the accounting system is rigid, you can’t control it, and it will not track or report what you want.